Rancho Santa Fe Association Buzz: Parking in the village being tracked

By Jack Queen, Rancho Santa Fe Association president

Whenever discussing persistent challenges in the Village, parking (or lack of it) raises its ugly head. Everyone seems to acknowledge that we have a problem but the exact nature of the problem varies depending on who you talk to.

Some of the merchants would like more timed parking, but then the debate moves to what is the appropriate time limit. One hour it too short for the restaurants but great for the convenience stores such as the cleaners, banks and the barber shop. Two hours generally works for the restaurants, but it is not long enough for the real estate community who needs more time to show their clients’ properties.

On top of all these concerns, if we set aside more parking spaces as timed parking this shifts the long-term parking needs into the surrounding residential community. Members that live near the Village are very concerned about the impact of people parking in front of their homes from early in the morning to late in the afternoon.

The problem has its roots in the very early design of the community when commercial properties were not required to have any onsite parking and early residential units did not have sufficient space for parking, especially for the large cars we drive today.

We have been working recently to get a better handle on the problem by conducting a comprehensive study of the parking habits in the Village. We have been surveying the parking every two hours during the work week and logging, not only the open parking spaces street by street but also keeping track — by license plate number — of vehicles that are violating the time-restricted areas.

To no one’s surprise the time parking limits are being ignored by many and some cars are actually in the timed spaces all day long. This is not really fair to any of us. In order for the Village merchants to run viable operations that serve our community, they need convenient parking for their customers. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask people that need to leave their car for the entire day to drive two blocks for parking. You know who you are and now with the survey results, we know who you are, as well. Please show some courtesy and park in the appropriate locations.

To that end, the board will work with organizations in the Village to seek appropriate day-long alternative parking. Once the survey has been completed, we will begin warning violators for a short period of time followed by enforcement through the Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Department.

On a more upbeat note, I hope that you (including parking violators) have a most prosperous and happy New Year.